Thursday 22 April 2021, 15:34pm/ Lebona Lekoena
A burnt parental home of Masilonyana Local Municipality Mayor Sthepen Koalane: image by Aphumelele Mdlalane (SABC News)
Theunissen: Angry residents set alight the parental home of Masilonyana Local Municipality’s mayor, Kunatu Stephen Koalane.
According to Free State police spokesperson, Motantsi Makhele, the incident occurred on Wednesday evening and no injuries have been reported in the torching.
The violent protesters also petrol-bombed a police nyala, however, authorities were able to extinguish flames before they could cause any damage.
Public Order Police continue to keep a close watch over the situation in Theunissen, as tensions appear to have calmed down for now.
The Masilonyana Local Municipality is mum on the unrest, with no statements released on the protests or the torching of Koalane’s parental home.
Earlier this week residents in Winburg, said they were unhappy that, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s 2021 Freedom Day celebrations had been moved from Winburg to Botshabelo.
Community leaders says, the event which will be attended by President Cyril Ramaphosa, would have provided the people of Masilonyana Municipality an opportunity to express their concerns regarding the poor state of service delivery and lack of water.
There are also allegations that the relocation of the event will result in the loss of benefits that the locals were supposed to reap had the event been hosted in their town.
A leaked letter addressed to the Deputy Director-General of the Free State details that, among other benefits, artists of Masilonyana who were going to perform at the Freedom Day Celebrations stood to gain R2 million.
But Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela says there was nothing sinister about the decision to move the event.
“There is no way that I can say President should not go to Windburg. We know what is happening to Windburg and we know it is one of our historical places. But it was not with those bad intentions. But we have decided, as EXCO, that we have to go to Windburg and try to hear and understand their grievances because indeed there’s a lot of grievances. And we must attend to them we have no choice,” says Ntombela.
Masilo Community Foundation Secretary, Pule Makgathe, has distanced the foundation from the burning of the family home of Mayor Steve Koalane.
Eleven people have since been arrested for public violence Theunissen.
Meanwhile 21 people who were arrested in Winburg for public violence have been released out on R500 bail. They are expected to appear again on 14th May 2021. In the meantime, three more people have also been arrested.